What International Employees Really Want

people crowd gathered in pattern of world map

"Attention equals retention. The great shuffle, great resignation we are seeing is a fantastic time to revamp your onboarding. Activate your Business Resource Groups (BRGs), Women in Leadership groups, and culture committees — let them be mentors." — Dr. Susan Hanold, Vice President, ADP HR Strategic Advisory Services.

The prevalence of remote work has placed the bargaining chips in the hands of employees as they now can work from anywhere and apply online for any company looking for virtual workers. How can companies shift their focus and emphasis toward the evolving preferences, priorities, and wants of the virtual workforce?

Dr. Susan Hanold, Vice President, HR Strategic Advisory Services at ADP; Cheyenne Horvat, Sr. People Operations Manager at RapidSOS; Robert Glazer, Founder & CEO at Acceleration Partners; and Joan Groleau, Sr. Director, Partner Marketing, Globalization Partners delved into what employers need to know to drive talent retention in the changing landscape of human resources.

What are companies doing well when creating people-centric talent acquisition and retention strategies?

Dr. Hanold stressed the need to develop and consolidate agility as the primary factor behind becoming the employer of choice. "You have to be willing to make some changes and use data to know what your benchmarks are because right now you have to know what problem you're solving for. Don't worry about what is going on around you. Look at your own culture, your own company and diagnosis, and determine what problem it is you're trying to solve, what its root causes are. Then, figure out the options to solve it. Keep the pulse on the labor market, such as wages growth and turnover rates," Dr. Hanold said.

Robert Glazer warned about knee-jerk reactions of the talent market and the gig economy mentality plaguing organizations, as they are not sustainable in the long run.

"It is a huge pendulum shift from mercenary leadership to mercenary employment. When you have a company, a lot of decisions have to be made around people and team goals. Teams are front and center. People are being highly reactive right now and lack a cohesive strategy," explained Glazer. If companies have a cohesive strategy and are clear on their values, it will enable a long-term, sustainable business growth plan rooted in talent.

How can leaders identify communication barriers between cultures and encourage a global mindset throughout their team?

Being thoughtful, compassionate, and providing the adequate tools for leaders to break down communication barriers — that is the global mindset recipe Horvat encourages companies to stick by.

"One of those things might be manager training: supplying a feedback loop and targeted questions on how to get that feedback. Gauge how a specific project is going and areas of improvement," Horvat said.

Expanding globally while going too far on one of the spectrums is a mistake Glazer sees companies make too often. "Finding the right local leaders while having separate fiefdoms and no connection to the whole or sending several expats to a region and culture they lack understanding of is a recipe for failure," said Glazer. "You need to have one company culture, but you've got to have that 25 percent local nuance. You can't have different core values as a company, they might manifest differently. Be clear on what your core values are, but understand you need that 25 percent that is different, local, and nuanced. Figuring out that balance is important."

What's the biggest challenge companies must overcome to provide employees around the world what they want the most from their job?

Horvat has one word for companies: flexibility. It falls under the purview of companies to manage expectations of their remote workforce and the need for in-office talent while regulations catch up.

"When it comes to legislation and what's been happening nationally and internationally, it might not be quite up to what employees actually want. When it comes to that, they're asking for flexibility because they are looking at a completely different work environment than 20 years ago. And that legislation that used to support that workforce 20 years ago is no longer supporting them. And so that translation is lost on them," Horvat said.

Apart from flexibility, Glazer mentioned accountability as another focal point. Companies need to build a sense of shared purpose and shared goals. "Meeting this flexibility with accountability, measuring outcomes, and having people with shared goals and purpose that are not trying to over-optimize their own situation is the great challenge for the leaders of today."

Learn about Globalization Partners on ADP Marketplace.

This article was republished with permission from Globalization Partners who hosted the PANGEO global employment conference and the session upon which the above article was based. Sessions from the 2021 event are available on demand.